THERE IS another theory, of course, just a mere speculation, as to the surrender of Pakistan and the controversial assassination or death of our beloved Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri.
This was so because the Soviet Union always believed Communist China to be their main ally during the cold war than a democratic India and also to avert another Indo China war, which was imminent if we failed to move out of Pakistan. The Soviets believed losing both China and India to the US in case of such a war. This could also lead to nuclear standoff between them and US. Our participation and close relations in the Non-Aligned Movement yielded little support from its members during the 1965 war as the Soviet Union was more neutral than most other nations during the war due to Chinese proximity, as they believed us turning turtle due to US support.
The USSR never wanted a strategically based and strong India in Asia due to its own vested interest and agendas basis we kept Pakistani land thus increasing our power. The USSR was always ready to accept China as their main ally over India but due to Mao’s suspicion of soviet designs remained only an ally in name. This could be seen with their secret pact with Mao and especially during the Cambodian, Korean and Vietnam wars. China famously had declared that India should behave otherwise their ships will sail. It was a symbolic statement, which alarmed India during the 1965 war. There were also reports of Chinese troop movements on the Indian border to support Pakistan.
The Chinese too were sure of Russian support and ironically, the scene is same until date. Both Russia and China do not want a strong India. As such, India agreed to the UN mandate in order to avoid a war on both borders in September 1965. Pakistan had received significant support from Iran, Indonesia and People's Republic of China and would have again received it if the United Nations had not declared the ceasefire under American Pressure.
America was eyeing victory against China in supporting and strengthening India. We surely would have gained strategically if we had kept the captured territories and freed more land from Pakistan. Shastriji wanted the separation of Pakistan into two more nations comprising its Northern province and Balochistan. This also meant emergence of a more larger and powerful India with inroads leading into central Asia as a supposed American powerhouse in direct confrontation to both USSR and China. The Americans were wholeheartedly planning to support India and had started distancing themselves from Pakistan as they declared them the main culprit behind the war for a greater gain in defeating China with the support of India thus killing two birds with one stone. This would have meant weakening of the soviet hold in Asia, defeat of communism and of course gaining India as a strong Ally.
This theory of Shastriji’s assassination by means of poison holds true because of the above political scenario in existence then. The Soviet Union or some foreign nation was actually behind his death for their own interests can never be proved unless you believe surviving members of Mr. Shastri's family and an enthusiastic Delhi-based journalist Anuj Dhar. What has added grist to the conspiracy mill is the Indian government's refusal to declassify a document it has or had in its possession pertaining to Mr. Shastri's death. However, our government still sticks to their theory of a natural death by heart attack. In her biography of Indira Gandhi, Katherine Frank writes that after he "went to bed in the early hours of the 11th January, Mr. Shastri had a fatal heart attack. In his magisterial ‘India After Gandhi’, historian Ramachandra Guha also writes Mr Shastri to have “died in his sleep of a heart attack"… The overturned flask as described by Mr. Kuldip Nayar in his book is not explained by Mr. Guha hence the controversy.
The most vivid account is described in the book ‘India, The Critical Years’ by veteran Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar. He was part of the prime minister's travelling press corps to Tashkent. Mr. Nayar also allays his approval of the Heart attack theory but his other noting about the overturned flask, unused slippers, Russian lady tasters in the kitchen and Shastriji’s communication with his family and their disapproval of the ceasefire agreement, the blue colour and cuts on his body raise some unanswered behind the line questions. As you, all know that in India secrecy in public interest actually means government’s interest rather than its peoples. In light of the failures of the Sino-Indian War, the outcome of the 1965 war was viewed as a "politico-strategic" victory in India. The Indian premier, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was hailed as a national hero. Though the truth can be very different from above as even the NATO forces along with Chinese, Iranian and Pakistani were skeptical of Shastriji’s goal of one strong India and his faith in USSR. We should not forget that Tashkent was in Uzbekistan and the Chinese could easily plant their Mongolic featured agents there.
Though things turned out a little differently for us but more so for NATO forces especially the US. We emerged as an Asian power in our own right. Consequently, we focused more on enhancing our Armed Forces and established the Research and Analysis Wing for external espionage and intelligence the positive impact of these changes was clearly visible during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 when we achieved a decisive victory over Pakistan with Soviet support. China's repeated threats to intervene in the conflict in support of Pakistan increased pressure on the government to take an immediate decision to develop nuclear weapons. The Americans always believed due to our foreign policy of non-alignment and close relations with the Soviet Union we could never be their true allies. Due to this reason alone, despite our repeated assurances, the United States did little to prevent extensive use of American arms by Pakistani forces during both the conflicts, which became the major reason for our shift towards USSR for both military and political support. The USSR is long gone and the US still wary of us. The one thing that has not changed is the list of our enemies.
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